How to Donate Wedding Dresses

Many girls dream of a fairy tale wedding and the perfect dress to match. While some brides choose to keep their gown wrapped up in the closet forever, others decide to donate it and give it a second life with someone else. The reasons for donating vary from lack of storage space to wanting a tax deduction or simply wanting to help others in need.

Before donating your dress, make sure that it is clean and in good condition. Then, contact the charity and check their guidelines. Some organizations require specific requirements such as the age of the dress, size, style or color. Some also accept bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses and bridal accessories. Before donating, it is important to research the organization and see if their values and mission align with your own.

A popular option for donating a wedding gown is the Brides Project in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This charity resells donated dresses, with the proceeds benefiting free programming for families affected by cancer. The Brides Project only accepts dresses that are five years old or younger.

Another option is to donate your dress to a local theater group. These groups perform plays that often include a wedding scene. By donating the gown, you can help the next playwright create the perfect look without having to buy a new one.

In addition, some wedding and bridal expos organize events where brides can purchase discounted or donated dresses. Check out the event’s website and social media to find out if they accept gown donations or exchanges. You can also reach out to the organizers directly and ask about their donation policies.

If you want to make a larger impact, consider donating your gown to an organization that provides weddings for military and first responder women for free through their Operation Wedding Gown events. The organization outfits over 26,000 brides every year. You can find a list of locations and contact information on their website.

NICU Helping Hands, an international nonprofit that offers emotional and practical support to families of premature infants, accepts donated wedding dresses. These gowns are then transformed into angel gowns, which are offered to hospitals, birthing centers and funeral homes for babies who pass away during their time in the NICU.

Finally, if you’re looking to declutter your closet and give your dress a second life, look for local thrift stores or bridal shops that offer gowns for sale. These shops will likely have a section specifically dedicated to gowns that were previously worn by other brides. These dresses are usually priced less than $500, making them a great option for brides on a budget. You can also try reaching out to local buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook and online forums. Many of these groups have wedding gown sections where members can post photos and details about their gowns for sale or donation.